Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Road Trip-Toledo

The trip on its second day featured the most downtime that Ryan and I had and we took it to its best advantage.

You see,I've had different travel partners and each do things a little differently.
Kendall Morris is a straight forward get to the destination with as few stops as possible.
Derreck Chupak will stop for food once in a while,but it's usually at McDonald's including a recent stop in Bowie that ranks among my worst stops of all time (check my TripAdvisor page for more on this).
Doug Hopkins likes to stop at places and look around as well dig around before we go for interesting places to eat at and I must admit I'm a lot more like Doug on trips to places that I've never been to than Kendall and Derreck,but that's not always the case!

On this day,Ryan and I had time to kill and I saw so many things and places from the state that despite not living there for a long time,that I'll always consider home and what a wonderful experience to share with my son.
When we left Louisville (after a grape icee stop at Thornton's as mentioned in part one!),we originally considered a return (when they were open) to the Muhammad Ali center and/or a Kentucky Derby museum trip to start our day.
Well,we decided to pass on both-the Ali center due to the issues we had leaving Louisville and not wanting to get caught in that again and the Derby museum due to its cost,which wound up being over 30 dollars per person by the time that different fees were introduced.
We then moved through Kentucky into southern Ohio and entered Cincinnati.
I had never been to Cinci and it was really neat to see some of the things as we crossed the Ohio River that I had seen so often on clips of the classic "WKRP in Cincinnati".
Ryan then surprised me by taking an exit so we were able to actually stop at Great American Ballpark for a few pictures before we left town.

We had another target in mind near Cincinnati in Blue Ash,Ohio.
Blue Ash is a town that was downright brilliant in the late 80's as the reconstruction of the late lamented Crosley Field was done on their sporting facility.
Their Crosley is accurate down to its exact dimensions including hills in the outfield and a perfect replica of the Crosley scoreboard with sponsors of the time and the scores of all the MLB games when the final pitch was thrown.
They also have an original ticket booth from Crosley and the seats on the third base bleachers are all from Crosley's original incarnation to boot.
Add to that another field that has the dimensions of the Reds home after Crosley in Riverfront Stadium complete with artificial turf and the people of Blue Ash certainly have made a unique home for their advanced youth baseball programs.
After we left the fields,Ryan wanted a coney from Skyline Chili,not a full meal,just a quick dog and since we had passed a Skyline on the way in,it was convenient.
As we ate,I wanted to make a note of the exact location for my later reviews for TripAdvisor,so I asked what the exact town the Skyline was located in.
This sounds dumb,but many times in suburbs,if you don't get the city exactly right,nothing will come up and therefore no review.
On my kindle,it was coming up that we were in Sharonville,yet I thought we were in Blue Ash,so I asked the waitress which was the case.
She looked at me with a puzzled look and said three times in a deep southern drawl "This is Blue Ash"...
This was a lot funnier in person that it reads-I promise!!

We then continued our run north through Western Ohio,including a cruise through Dayton,where we saw the Dayton Arena,where the first round of the NCAA tourney is played and moved to Wapakoneta and yet another place that I've always wanted to visit as a space buff (wasn't every kid in the 60's and 70's?)-The Neil Armstrong Air and Space museum honoring hometown hero and first man on the moon-Neil Armstrong.
I smiled as I snapped the picture at the top of the page as it reminded me exactly of what you would think a space museum built in the 1970's would look like-a large walking path leading up to an imposing dome,although it appeared that there was lots of landscaping work being done in order to give the museum the appearance of being buried.
Once inside,you saw that the museum was actually below ground level and you worked your way to the dome at the top,things began to clear up.
I was simply enthralled by the Armstrong museum.It had a seventies feel without the mustiness and lack of care that some museums with lower funding often have.
Well maintained with lots of Armstrong and U.S. space items,it also gives its fair share of attention to the opponents in the space race as the Soviet Union has some attention paid to it as well.
There is a video on the moon landings under the dome and to be fair-it's a little dated,but if you have children or haven't done a lot of lunar reading of late,it's entertaining and interesting enough to get you by.
I just loved going to the Armstrong museum and at 8.00 for adults and cheaper for kids,it isn't going to be oppressive in cost.
I did pick up a few postcards and a little something for myself-a Armstrong snow globe.
I've always liked those and even those I don't really collect them,I couldn't pass this little guy up!
If you are ever in the area,give it a try.Ryan said he enjoyed it and he wasn't sure that he would when he arrived-so there is an endorsement from someone other than me!!

After leaving Wapakoneta and the museum (which is very visible from the interstate),we moved toward Toledo and passed (the shot wasn't great) Doyt Perry Stadium,home of Bowling Green football.
I'm planning on making my first visit to the Doyt in Sept to see the Falcons take on Middle Tennessee State (not sure on travel partners,if any for that trip) and it was nice to have a little bit of an idea of where the Doyt is located!

More northern driving saw us decide to cross the Michigan line in order to count Michigan as a state that we have been to and we'd drive for a little bit,stop and get out and then turn around to return to Ohio.
When seeing a sign for Beef Jerky Unlimited,we knew we had our stop!
Located in a small store right off the highway,Beef Jerky Unlimited had a lot of different flavors,ranging from sweet to hot and in beef,chicken and pork!
Ryan graciously bought us some and we used it as snacks down the road,in the hotel and even the next day.

We left Michigan and passed Toledo again in order to eat at Frisch's Big Boy.
Frisch's is the midwestern version of Bob's and Shoney's as it has the classic Big Boy statue out front and I remember it from being the sponsor of a Cincinnati Stingers  pocket schedule in my collection.
Frisch's offered the classic Big Boy burger and fries combo and I happily had such as we ate before our jaunt to Toledo for the home team Mud Hens and the visiting Rochester Red Wings.

I'm never a fan of paying for parking.
NEVER.It has to be done and it's part of the price of playing when you visit big cities,but I really don't like it.
There is ZERO parking on site at Fifth Third Field-home of the AAA Mud Hens and so you could either pay eight dollars and park across the street or five and walk blocks.
That was an easy choice and even with my foot feeling better than the day before (In which I spent much of the day in slippers),I still wanted to save steps.
Entering the stadium was interesting,as those of you that know me,know the briefcase that goes everywhere with me and it came to Toledo as well..
I wasn't checked when entering the stadium,which I found unusual ,with the exception of Hagerstown or Frederick,where they know the contents,I'm usually checked,which I have no problem with.
Ryan and I made a hard turn into the team shop where I discovered I was being tailed by a guy in uniform.
Everywhere I went,this guy was there and then after a while,I watched this guy go up to another uniformed person and start looking at me.
Honestly,I was a little uncomfortable,so being me,I decided to end their suspicion and walked over and said "You guys are watching me right?"
The second fellow arrogantly responded "yes,we are",so I said let's end your suspense and showed the contents,which relaxed them.
The follower said "You have to admit that's pretty unusual" and I responded "Perhaps,but usually I'm checked at the door".
I understand the need for security and I never have an issue checking the case,but wouldn't it have been so much easier to check it before I walk in????

Fifth Third Field was sold out for this night and we were treated to good seats,but had the misfortune to sit in front of some dopey kid who seemed to know all and tell all to a girl sitting next to him.
My highlight was listening to him talk about basketball despite knowing next to nothing.
This guy brought to mind a cross between Cliff Clavin and a local grapher and it was painful.
The  noise was a little loud with us sitting under a speaker,but it wasn't terrible,
Toledo has similarities to Akron,where the stadium is located in an urban area with various things to do around the ballpark's exterior for revelry to ensue.
In other words,all the things that I hate! LOL.
Toledo did a mild stadium renovation,which Ryan remarked is likely the reason for an attendance increase.
I did like this "Wedge" of seats that started this season in which it incorporates a building that is used as almost part of the scenery (I'm not sure if it is part of the park or not) and adds what I'd bet is higher priced prestige seating.
I'm still not a huge fan of the downtown parks,I'll take a suburban or a slower city location anytime,but Toledo was Ok.

We left Toledo and moved to our hotel for the night in Sandusky,Ohio after a long and fun day.
I had a great time with Ryan and I hope you can handle the length of this post!
I'll have the final day up soon,but later tonight,I'll have the podcast and the latest edition of Chasing Cardboard....

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